Elite Impulse 31 Review

Elite Impulse 31

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  • A long anticipated shorter axel-to-axel Elite hunting bow
  • A quicker IBO speed up to 343 feet per second while
  • Trademark shootability and Elite back wall
  • New KUIU camo pattern adds an overall custom look


  • $999 MSRP may be a bit pricey for some shooters
  • Some may not appreciate the trimmed 6-inch brace height.
  • Diehard speed shooters may still be a little disappointed


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Editors' review

In the past, those skeptical of the great bows designed by Elite archery would jab at the fact the Elite bows were a touch on the slow side, and there was not much to offer for shooters wanting something in a shorter axel to axel. Elite listened to what shooters were begging for when they created the Impulse 31, while still maintaining the shootability and highly regarded solid back wall and massive valley. Although the 31-inch axel-to-axel measurement is only an inch shorter than the 32-inch offerings in the past, shooters are already stoked to see Elite offer a shorter bow with the solid platform they are becoming known for. Maximum arrow speeds up to 343 feet per second will more than likely not satisfy those looking for raw speed, but it does put Elite in contention with those wanting a flatter shooting arrow. Some shooters may not appreciate Elite trimmed the brace height to 6-inches, but those wanting a longer brace, will also need to accept slower arrow speeds as well. The MSRP tag of $999 is right in the range of 2016 flagship models, but may still be a bit steep for some looking to buy a new bow for 2016.


Elite finish has been perfectly done again for 2016. In the past, Elite bows have always looked wonderful, both with the high definition camo patterns, and the application of the finish. Realtree is still offered on the Elite bows as a camo option in Realtree Xtra, Realtree Snow, and Realtree Max-1. However, Elite has partnered with KUIU for 2016, and will be offering two brand new finish patterns, not only to the Elite lineup, but to the stock bow lineups across every manufacturer. KUIU Verde and KUIU Vias are sure to be popular patterns for the Impulse 31. Those wanting a black out bow will have that choice as well. Shooters can also mix the camo patterns with a black riser if they do not want a fully camo bow from cam to cam.


For a shorter axel-to-axel bow, the overall mass is still pretty substantial weighing in at 4.2-pounds straight out of the box. The recent trend of bow hunters seems to be moving toward the lighter side of 4-pounds. However, if target setups have taught archers anything, it is to not be afraid of a little extra weight. Despite what the scale shows, the Impulse 31 does not feel heavy in any way.More than likely, one of the first things shooters will notice about the Impulse 31 riser is the cage design located above the sight mounting location. Elite claims the riser cage will reduce vibration and increases riser strength by 30% and riser stiffness by 19%. Most will agree this feature is well worth the minimal extra weight it may add to the overall mass of the bow. The Impulse 31 badge under the grip is a nice touch as well, but does not take away from the overall look and design of the bow. Elite has also maintained the tried and true cable slide system for the Impulse 31. The cable slide rod and composite cable slide will add a little more torque to the riser than some other designs on the market, but the cable slide is a design used for years on compound equipment. The rear mounting string stop system is fairly simplistic in design as well, but serves its purpose flawlessly. The Limbsavers accessories installed from the factory help with some noise and vibration as well.


Elite will continue to offer the two-piece wooden grip on the Impulse 31 as in the past. This grip has been fairly popular with shooters making the switch to Elite. However, the slightly contoured feel is also an area of concern for some shooters as well. In several 2016 models, Elite is offering a V-Grip option, which more closely resembles a target bow grip, but is also preferred by many Elite faithful. It would have been nice to at least offer this grip with the Impulse 31. However, for hunting purposes, the wooden Elite grip will be a great option.


It is no secret Elite offers a transferrable warranty on their bows, allowing shooters to buy an Elite bow second hand and still have the factory warranty backing. Perhaps the most warranted bow part industry wide are the limbs supplying the power that is transferred to the arrow. With that in mind, Elite must be offering a pretty great limb to have so much faith in what they engineered. The three-layer laminated limbs have a phenomenal reputation as being durable and long lasting. They are also offered in a massive 50-pound draw weight range with maximum draw weights of 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, and even 80-pounds. This means virtually anyone wanting an Impulse 31 should find the correct configuration.Although many shooters will not notice, the limb pockets have been redesigned for 2016, and will be featured on all their current year models including the Impulse 31. The Perfect Alignment Limb System pocket is made to maintain alignment between the riser, cam, and limbs for the entire shot cycle. The look of the pockets is not drastically different, but the function is improved over previous model years. As in the past, the Limbsavers have been installed to each of the solid limbs as well.

Eccentric System

The Elite cam system is redesigned for the Impulse 31. The IM cam design was reengineered to give the Impulse a bit more speed, without compromising the solid back wall and huge dwell zone Elite is known for. The cam is offered in half-inch increments from 26-30-inches and can be changed with modules for each specific draw length. The let-off is adjustable by moving the padded dual limbs stops in the slotted cam groove. The IM cam is also designed with a two-track system, so the string and cables are on different tracks. As the bow is drawn, the cable load is located more toward the center of the bow, which will ultimately help reduce the amount of cam lean in the system and should help improve accuracy. Draw Cycle/ShootabilityThe designed Elite draw cycle is more than likely what sells shooters on choosing Elite bows more than any other feature. When viewing the draw force curve of the IM cams, shooters will notice the distance required to get to peak draw is a bit longer than many bows on the market, making it feel a bit easier because the weight does not stack up all at one time. From there, the draw levels out without any humps or dips that lead shooters to feel like the bow is not smooth. As the bow releases into the let-off, shooters will be able to relax as the bow comes to full draw at the sturdy dual limb stop position. The limbs stops are adjustable, so this back wall and valley can be a bit different from set up to set up, but the dwell zone and back wall will have a feel like none other. The wall will be extremely solid, with no wiggle room or play whatsoever. Shooters wanting to let the arrow back to rest will need to push the string forward to get it back to the starting position. From a hunting standpoint, this is ideal because shooters can freely move around if needed without the feeling of being ripped through the peep sight. However, it is important to maintain good shooting form, and pull on the stops consistently shot after shot.While aiming, the Impulse 31 sits very comfortably on target. The pin float is minimal, and the bow balances well without needing to add a bunch of weight. Shooters will have the ability to do this as they choose, based on personal preference, but it does fell good without much added to the bare bow. After the shot, the bow sits with minimal noise and vibration. There was not much rocking in any direction, which is nice for most shooters.

Usage Scenarios

The Impulse 31 will be a popular choice for the 2016 hunter. It will do well on the 3D range for shooters only using one bow, but for those wanting a dedicated 3D or target bow, Elite may have something a bit more appealing to shoot. However, for a hunting bow, the Impulse 31 is what so many people have been waiting for Elite to release.

Impulse 31 vs. Energy 32

BowElite Impulse 31Elite Energy 32
Version 20182016
PictureElite Impulse 31Elite Energy 32
Brace Height31 "7 "
AtA Length6 "31.75 "
Draw Length26 " - 30 "26 " - 30 "
Draw Weight30 lbs - 80 lbs30 lbs - 80 lbs
IBO Speed300 fps - 340 fps293 fps - 335 fps
Weight4.2 lbs4.3 lbs
Let-Off75% - 90% 80%+
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These two bows truly have a lot in common, and will be the two most sought after Elite options for those wanting something on the shorter side of the axel-to-axel range. Both bows will feel very similar on the shot experience, and both will be around the same amount of money brand new for 2016, with the Elite Energy 32 maybe a bit cheaper. The Elite Impulse 31 is a bit more compact and faster than the Energy 32, but the Energy will have a more generous brace height. The final decision will be up to each individual shooter, but both are nice options for to consider from the Elite lineup.


The Impulse 31 is what shooters have been begging for from Elite for a while now. The IM cams are a typical Elite drawing cam system, with the majority of the increase in speed coming from a shorter brace height than years past. 343 feet per second will not set any records, but it does make Elite competitive in the speed department with any non-speed bow for 2016. The 31-inch axel to axel may not be short enough for some hunters, but many requested it, and Elite delivered. The new finish options are a welcomed addition as well, but those liking the previous offerings, the option is still there. To be honest, it is very difficult to find anything wrong with the Impulse 31. Everything with archery boils down to personal preference, and the Impulse 31 may not be what every shooter is looking for. However, anyone saying the Impulse 31 has major flaws is not speaking the truth. The Impulse 31 is a job well done by Elite to provide a bow many shooters are interested in. The $999 price tag is fair when compared to other flagship bows, but may not be doable for some shooters. For those wanting a faster, shorter Elite, it has arrived.

User Reviews

  • 1 review
  • ( out of 1 review for all versions)
As advertised: Shoot-ability right out of the box. Smoothest Draw cycle.

Version: 2016 Elite Impulse 31


Pros: Quickly tuned by bow pro. Shot great and grouped great from the start. Despite the shorter brace height, I previously shot a bow with a 7+" BH...it was awesome shooting. You can literally hold full draw "forever".

Cons: Of course it would be nice if it was a little cheaper...but for a "flagship" bow it is competitive.

Full review:

Fired 3 arrows at my Bow Shop (Bass N Bucks-Wabash, IN). Bow tech recommended I try it before making a purchase. I HAD it down to two bows: Hoyt Defiant and Matthews Halon. Elite won me over. The draw cycle and back wall was unlike anything I've ever experienced. That was it, I was done...SO i bought the Impulse 31, 60# draw. I have a 28 in draw. So let's talk about bow speed. I was excited when I read the IBO speeds on this bow! 343 FPS! Uh...not the case. In fact I test fired a Matthews Z2 with my hunting arrows-(Gold Tip 400 (8.2 g/in) 31", 100 grain field tips). Avg Speed was 303 FPS. I previously shot a PSE Stinger X maxed out at 70# and the fastest speed was 268. So I chrono'd the same hunting arrows and Avg speed with the Impulse was 281.4 fps. Still respectable but not the advertised IBO speed. What I do notice is the THWACK sound my arrows made which I had not heard with my previous bow. Setup was easy and my setup has the following: D-Loop, Kisser Button, 3/8 peep, QAD fallaway rest, Trophy Ridge quiver, Stinger Bee 6" stabilizer, HHA single pin sight. Just a hair over 5 lbs...but feels good. Shots: very little vibration or hand shock..the weight is the biggest adjustment from my previous rig. BUT shoots great...makes me look like I actually know what I am doing! LOL

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